It would seem that Charlie Wilson, my congresscritter, has taken the easy way out of the August recess – hold one town hall meeting, in the remotest corner of a 300-mile-long congressional district.
He’s your typical rank-and-file Democrat, despite the “Blue Dog” label (he did vote against Cap-and-Trade, although solely to protect the coal and power industries in his district, he’s all for tilting at the Global Warming windmill). A brief chat with his office confirmed he’s supporting the Obamacare bill and strongly supports the public option (now, if he would just support public opinion…).
What follows is my attempt to voice my opinion to him, and an attempt to get him to reconsider his position. I know, I know… facts and liberals, oil and vinegar. Or maybe it’s water and potassium perchlorate.
Honorable Charles Wilson
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Wilson:
I am writing this letter asking that you reconsider your position and oppose H.R. 3200, better known as the Health Care Bill. Despite widespread recognition that something needs to be done to provide better access, the proposed solutions in H.R. 3200 will, by necessity, destroy our great health care system. I would ask that you read my letter and consider the facts contained herein.
Fact #1: People are against this plan
Poll after poll after poll report the same conclusion: either a majority or a plurality of the American people are against this plan. Unless our congressional district is some anomaly, it is safe to say that the same trend applies in our district.
Certainly you have seen reports across the country of the groundswell of opposition. Make no mistake, this is neither an “Astroturf” operation, nor a paid effort by any party or organization. These are real people who do not want the government dictating what their health care will be.
As a Representative of the people, this alone should be sufficient cause for you to oppose H.R. 3200. It should never have to be asked of any Member of Congress, regardless of affiliation, “Who do you represent, the People, or the Party?” However, this is necessarily being asked in some form or other across the country, as your colleagues meet with their constituents during this recess.
Fact #2: Taxes will be raised on practically everyone
The Congressional Budget Office has performed a partial analysis – incomplete, according to the testimony of CBO director Douglas Elmendorf – of H.R. 3200, the legislation will cost in excess of one trillion dollars. This money has to come from somewhere; as with all government spending, it will come from increased taxation.
Two oft-raised sources of income – increased taxes on the rich and cuts of wasteful spending – will not come close to paying for the legislation. Using President Obama’s oft-used threshold of $250,000, if the government took 100% of the income of all Americans earning above that threshold, it still falls short of the trillion-dollar price tag of H.R. 3200.
To think that cuts in wasteful spending will amount to anything significant is laughable.
What remains is a hefty tax increase – both directly and indirectly – on all Americans. Direct tax increases will burden the middle class further, while increased taxes on corporations – which simply pass these costs on to consumers – affect all Americans, rich, poor and middle class. According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the increased tax load has the potential to destroy over one and a half million jobs, compounding the current economic malaise.
Fact #3: Health care will be rationed
Section 122 of H.R. 3200 says so.
Even without this evidence, basic economics dictates that care must be rationed. Various other parts of the legislation (e.g., section 1121, page 241, lines 6 – 8 ) sets payment schedules for services. As soon as a price is set, supply becomes limited. It’s basic macroeconomics.
Fact #4: People will be forced into government-run single-payer health care
Many claim that Section 102 outright prohibits new employees from enrolling in any plan other than the public option.
I will start from a more generous position: although 102 may not force the above situation, it establishes the framework, along with the Commission and Health Care Exchange, to eventually force everyone into the public option.
Again, this is basic economics. Per the legislation, the government establishes the minimum core coverage that all plans must provide. This allows a very easy – and unaccountable – gaming of the system to force the costs to private insurers prohibitively high – by forcing them to offer coverage for things not normally covered, for example. Private insurers would then have no alternative but to dump their insured into the public option.
Lest you doubt that this scenario would actually play out, I would direct your attention to quotes uncovered this week by President Obama, Representative Jan Schakowsky, and Dr. Jacob Hacker, a professor at Yale University. Video and audio of the quotes is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ-6ebku3_E&feature=player_embedded.
Now, let’s suppose that we do achieve single-payer health care in America. Can you please cite one example where it has been tried in the world and succeeded? I can cite many that have failed or are currently failing. Without a single successful case study, it is dangerous to risk the health of 300 million Americans on a scheme with a proven track record of failure.
Fact #5: Analysis of the oft-quoted “47 million uninsured” number
While the 47 million number seems appalling at first glance, a closer look reveals the fatal flaws in this approach.
According to the Census Bureau, some 9.5 million people in that 47 million count are in the United States illegally. At the risk of sounding callous, these people should not be provided health coverage, they should be deported. It is preposterous to spend billions of dollars on people who are here illegally. Certainly, such emergency care as is necessary should be offered, after which illegal aliens should be sent back to their proper home. To do otherwise just provides yet another enticement for more illegal aliens to enter the country and place ever greater burdens on law-abiding citizens.
Of the remaining 37.5 million, approximately 17 million uninsured citizens have incomes in excess of the median household income. There is no reason why these people cannot afford health insurance.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, some 45 percent of uninsured citizens are only temporarily uninsured, as they transition between jobs.
At this point, we have significant overlap in the numbers and it’s difficult to pinpoint a number remaining. However, the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation uses numbers in the range of 8.2 and 13.9 million uninsured, with the lower number representing people uninsured for two or more years.
Thus, although it is undesirable to have any uninsured citizens, the scope of the problem is far smaller than is being reported, and such drastic solutions as have been proposed are not necessary.
What we have is a bill before the Congress that will wreak havoc on our great nation. It is widely known that Americans do not go to Canada for health care coverage; Canadians, and people from around the world, come here because, despite what the WHO might claim, the United States has the best health care system in the world. Certainly, it is not without flaw; nothing is perfect. However, the proposed solution to our health care problems will do little or nothing to fix the current problems, and cause far greater problems in the destruction of the health insurance industry and subsequent limitations of available health care.
The legislation is bad for our country; We the People have been trying to tell our representatives this for some time now. There are no good reasons – and plenty of bad ones – to support this bill. I, and many of my fellow Americans, ask that you and your colleagues in Congress vote No on H.R. 3200.
In closing, I do not wish to simply complain about a problem without offering a solution. I would suggest that Congress’ efforts would be far better utilized in three areas: medical malpractice reform, reducing the burden on pharmaceutical companies’ research, and easing restriction on health care purchasing. The first area will substantially lower the cost for physicians to do business, resulting in lower costs to patients. The second will lower the cost for development of new drugs and treatments. The third, primarily through cross-state purchasing and greater pooling power, will increase competition among health insurance providers and lower costs to employers to provide coverage for employees. None of these approaches is popular in Washington, given the lawyers’ lobby and the propensity of government to never shrink. However, all three are popular with the people, and can easily be argued to be effective approaches.
I thank you for your time.
Robert W. Kramer, Ph.D.